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14 November 2018

Professor Sir Roger Penrose recognised at King's Honorary Degree Ceremony

Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS was one of seven honorary graduates awarded this year during the King’s Honorary Degree Ceremony on 24 October 2018.

Group in academic gowns with Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS
Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS

Sir Roger is a world renowned mathematical physicist, mathematician and philosopher of science. He is Emeritus Rouse Ball Professor of Mathematics in the University of Oxford and Emeritus Fellow of Wadham College, Oxford.

He has had an enormous influence on the development of general relativity and cosmology, and more widely within mathematics, physics and the philosophy of science.

He spent two years as a research associate at King's between 1961 and 1963, where his work on the geometry of spacetime influenced Hermann Bondi and Felix Pirani in the Department of Mathematics.

He gave a talk at King’s in December 1964 that provided a proof that spacetime will always develop singularities under certain conditions, thus describing the nature of black holes before their existence was widely recognised. This became a milestone in the history of gravitation, and was followed in 1970 by the Penrose-Hawking singularity theorems.

Examples of his geometrical insight include the famous stairs in the artwork of his father's friend M.C. Escher, and the non-periodic tiling now visible outside the Mathematical Institute in Oxford.

Sir Roger was awarded alongside Professor Patricia Davidson, Sir John Eliot Gardiner FKC, Dr Vartan Gregorian, Professor Barry Halliwell, The Honorable Sylvia Wynter OJ, and Professor Dame Carol Ann Duffy FRSL.

Read more about the other honorary graduates